For a first team-training ride this didn’t seem so bad: Nobody decided they definitely didn’t want to do a bigger ride next year, nobody died or sustained a major injury and Joe only fell off twice for his first time on clipless pedals. It was a day of firsts for many of the riders. First time riding anything like that distance, first time riding in a team, first time realising what next year might actually be like.
In particular Joe Hodgeson went through a lot of firsts. This was his first ride longer that 9 miles (!) a massive 6x increase on his maximum mileage on a day that also saw him ride with clipless pedals on a road bike for the first time, and fall off a road bike for the first (and second!) times. Joe did absolutely cracking throughout (as did all the riders), and if the good mood can be sustained for a whole years training we’ll be in great shape come June next year.
The Manchester to Blackpool ride is one of my favourite organised rides. Its well signposted and marshalled and theres a huge range of people all riding for a wide range of good causes. At 60 miles its not obscenely long or hilly, but definitely represents a challenge however you ride it, and there’s not much better than a chip shop at the end of a long ride to get you feeling human again!
In our case it did it’s job well, we rode as a team for the distance, tried out some new cycling breakfasts in the morning (Jo Kelly makes excellent pancakes I’m learning!) and most importantly in my eyes, the people who don’t know each other that well on the team started to bond a little bit. By this time next year, they’ll either be friends for life or mortal enemies, probably depending how the ride goes!